Relaxations not possible if figures remain at this level, says Jambon
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Relaxations not possible if figures remain at this level, says Jambon

Credit: Belga

As long as Belgium’s coronavirus figures keep dancing around this level, there is no room for further relaxations, according to Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon.

Jambon agrees with Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke that big relaxations, such as reopening the hospitality industry, are not possible right now, he said on VRT programme ‘De Zevende Dag’.

“Everything is guided by the figures, by the evolution of the pandemic. We are now on an uncertain plateau,” Jambon said. “As long as the figures continue to dance at today’s level, the situation is not good enough for further easing.”

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While Jambon said he sees no difference between hairdressers (who can reopen on 13 February) and other non-medical contact professions (who have to wait until 1 March), he did defend the choice of reopening certain businesses over relaxations regarding social contacts.

“This is a controlled environment, there are well-developed protocols with the sector,” Jambon said. “That can be monitored.”

Additionally, Jambon said that he understands that the hospitality industry and other hard-hit sectors are asking for additional support, but according to him there is no room for it.

“By now, we are almost at half a billion euros in support measures for the sector, and for all industries, that amounts to €2 billion. These are gigantic sums,” he said. “In the long term, we will all have to pay that back.”

Jambon did emphasise that the government would continue to consult with the sector, and that the current support measures would remain in place as long as they had to be closed.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times